December 30, 2003

The Yellow Arrow, Victor Pelevin

It's like all the non-B-movie elements of an Iain M. Banks novel. The technology is vast, destructive, implausible; the humans petty and melancholy; the end not happy, but less painful than I had expected. Pelevin's version is very short.

If I were not so low in my tastes, I would probably be thinking of other Russian novels, all of them about passive accomodation to hurtling doom. The Yellow Arrow is a train that never stops, so large the the protagonist has never seen either end, and it's heading for a ruined bridge. Most of the riders are unconscious of this; they scuffle for better berths, steal bits of the train itself, throw the uncoffined dead ceremoniously out the window.

Translated by Andrew Bromfield.

ISBN: 0-8112-1324-2

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